Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Report

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Engineering (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Advisor 1

Dr. David Watkins

Committee Member 1

Dr. Jennifer Becker

Committee Member 2

Dr. Kari Henquinet


Intermittent water supply (IWS) is defined as a piped water distribution system that operates in an intermittent fashion, i.e. less than 24 hours per day. Piped water distribution systems are designed to operate with continuous water supply (CWS), meaning the system is operated continuously and maintains positive pressures in the distribution network. Operating a system in an intermittent fashion can cause inequality of access in a water distribution system. It may also result in lower water quality and wear and tear on the system.

In the community of Espavé, Panamá a new water system was installed and brought online in 2015. It was designed to operate continuously; however, during the dry season the flow from the spring source drops below the total daily demand of the community. Under this intermittent regime, the system operates differently, causing some community members not to receive water service.

Survey and design data were used to model the system, as designed, in EPANET for CWS operation and EPA SWMM for IWS operation. Various trial runs were conducted in SWMM using dynamic flow routing to simulate dry season flow rates, under average and high demand. The model was then divided into two sections in order to isolate higher households from those at lower elevations. These isolated sections were used to develop a staggered operation system for water delivery.

Model results indicate that reducing daily usage during the dry season is recommended to prevent intermittency in the system. If demand continues to exceed supply, staggering the delivery to different areas may help to maintain equality in distribution. In the future models for water distribution systems should be developed to simulate IWS.